The Path of Destiny
Chapter 53 – Meetings
It was decided, after Snowcrystal and Spark revealed everything that Nightcloud had said, that they would go to the library in the evening to see what the mightyena had to say. What they would do afterward, no one was quite sure yet. Most of the pokémon were very willing to sneak in to take a look at the books hidden in secret, and so were Justin and Damian, but Katie was unsure. It was morning now, and as soon as Justin and Katie returned from the trainer’s hotel, they began discussing the matter once again.
“Well, Snowcrystal did manage to sneak in there once,” Justin stated. “I guess it wouldn’t be too hard.”
“There were still people in the building when Snowcrystal was there,” Katie replied, obviously remembering Snowcrystal talking about the time when a human had chased her in the library. “There’ll probably still be janitors, or other workers…and that had to have been before they closed it down for the night…they must have alarms, or…or some other type of security system…”
“Maybe we could find a place to hide in there until late at night,” Justin suggested. “Then we could open a window if we needed one of the wild pokémon’s help, or just use our own pokémon, or-”
Katie sighed. “I…I don’t like the idea of sneaking around the library at night. We should at least try and explain things…”
“Who’s going to believe you?” Justin told her with a glare. “From what that mightyena said, there’s no way they’d let us-”
“I really think we could pull it off,” Damian began, “if we-”
“Look, Justin,” Katie told him, cutting Damian off. “We shouldn’t sneak around the library…unless we have to,” she added with a sigh. “We should try and explain things first. Maybe they’ll let us look at the books.”
“I don’t see why you’re so worried,” Justin muttered. “We’ve got pokémon! We were in that library almost every day for weeks. The only cameras they had were at the front where you first walk in the doors. They seem to only care about people trying to steal books while they’re walking in and out of the front doors all day…”
“If what the mightyena said was true,” Katie said with a glare. “The place with these rare books has got to have some sort of protection. Do you really think it wouldn’t? And you don’t know for sure that the library doesn’t have any other ways of catching intruders. It’s one of the biggest, oldest, and most renowned buildings in the entire
Inari region. Surely it can’t be easy to just-”
“Why don’t we wait until the mightyena tells us more about it?” Justin asked. “Her trainer works there, so she should know what happens at night.”
“Why don’t we just try explaining
to them?” Katie retorted. “We’ll figure out what to do after that.”
“We should all go today,” Damian said before Justin could reply, picking up his backpack. “If Katie wants to, we could try talking to all the workers we see in the library, and-”
“What about the pokémon?” Katie asked. “Should we just leave the wild ones here?”
“I guess so,” Damian replied.
Rosie growled. “I’m tired of waiting around here!” she shouted.
“Yeah!” agreed Inferno with a shake of his yellow mane. “Why don’t we go and battle?”
The rest of the pokémon murmured something in agreement at the flareon’s words, but they didn’t loudly protest. As tired as they were of being stuck in one place, they knew that what the trainers were doing was important.
Last night, they had moved their camp to a different area further away from the city, after the wild pokémon had spotted a couple of trainers close by and became nervous. Their new camp was a small, rocky ravine with little plant life, and though it seemed more hidden and therefore safer, most of the pokémon didn’t like it.
Snowcrystal sighed as she glanced along the dusty walls of the ravine that sloped gently upward, gently enough for even small pokémon to climb with ease, but high enough that they wouldn’t be noticed from a distance. They had chosen this spot for that reason; it was hidden enough that trainers wouldn’t be able to see there was anyone sheltering here unless they were close, and they were far enough from the city that it didn’t seem to be an issue; most humans didn’t venture past Stonedust in that direction at all. At first, moving to a new camp had seemed like a welcome change of pace, but now that they were there, the light brown boulders and dusty walls surrounded by a flat rocky plain were bleak and uninviting.
“I want to go to the city,” Alex sighed in frustration as she drew patterns with her claws in the dust. “I hate it here.”
This time, many of the other pokémon were more vocal in stating their agreement, some asking Arien if they could go with the humans to the library. Damian, who obviously knew what they were talking about through his link with the psychic pokémon, looked thoughtful. “I know!” he said in a cheery voice. “I know what to do! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before!”
“What?” Justin asked, looking excited. “You know how we can get the books from the library?”
“No, not that,” Damian replied, not noticing the disappointed, disapproving look Justin gave him afterward. “I know where the pokémon could go for the day! The Pokémon Park!”
“Damian…that’s not for wild pokémon,” Katie pointed out. “That’s why we didn’t use it before.”
“Nobody has to know!” he replied. “They’ll behave themselves. Trainers drop pokémon off there all the time. There are always trainers watching in case any trouble happens, and the people who work there will make sure the pokémon are safe!” He turned to the pokémon, who were looking at him with either interest or boredom. “Who wants to go to the park?” he asked them.
Several of the pokémon gave excited cries. Snowcrystal had no idea what a park was, but she knew that whatever it was, it had to be better than the place they were resting in now. To her surprise, Nightshade also looked eager to go.
“Damian, I don’t think this is a good idea…” Katie began.
“It’ll be fine,” Justin shrugged. “Just let them know they can’t eat any pokémon there and it will be okay.”
“Don’t worry, Katie,” Damian assured her in a calm voice. “We can leave some of our pokémon there with them. They’ve been there before. They’ll look after them.”
“Okay,” Katie sighed. “But you’re going to be the ones answering to the park workers if something goes wrong.”
After being absolutely sure that Snowcrystal’s orange growlithe markings were spot-on, the three trainers and the wild pokémon who had decided to go to the park-Snowcrystal, Wildflame, Alex, Nightshade, and Redclaw-headed toward the facility. Snowcrystal had never been to this area of the city before, and when she saw the park itself, she was amazed.
The Pokémon Park sat in the center of a wide ring of buildings, an absolutely huge grassy field littered with large boulders and several strange structures which many pokémon were climbing on. There was a vast pool to one side, where she could see water pokémon playing. There were also many trees, which pokémon were climbing or running around cheerfully.
She was still staring at it in awe when Damian and the others approached the part of the large gate where the entrance was. Snowcrystal figured that the gate was more there to look nice than to serve any sort of function, because she was sure pretty much any pokémon could find a way over, under, or through it.
“We’d like to let these pokémon in,” Damian explained, gesturing toward the five wild pokémon who had followed them on their journey. “And a few others, we-”
The person sitting at a table set out at the entrance looked over the edge of the book she was reading and at the pokémon until her gaze rested on Nightshade. It took Snowcrystal a moment to realize that she must have noticed his limp. “Well…” the strange human began in a monotone voice, picking up a small sheet of paper lying on the desk and staring at it. “If your pokémon is injured, you need a note from the pokémon center before entering the Poké Park. You should also-”
“He’ll be fine,” Katie said after a quick worried glance at Damian. “He just wants to climb the trees. He’ll stay up in one the whole time. He won’t get himself injured worse. Could he just-”
“Sure, whatever,” the human said carelessly with a shrug. She threw the paper back down on the table and went back to reading her book. “Just send out the pokémon you want, and if you’re leaving, please sign here and tell us when you’re coming back…” She slid another paper toward Damian, who began writing something on it with a pen from a cup on the edge of the table. The worker human droned on. “Your pokémon are not allowed to take food out of the Poké Park. Your pokémon are not allowed to attack or eat other trainers’ pokémon. Don’t abandon your pokémon at the Poké Park. Ill-behaved pokémon will be kicked out and forced to wait in the park building for your return…oh, just read the rules over there,” she muttered in an annoyed voice, pointing to a sign.
None of the trainers bothered with reading the rules-Snowcrystal assumed they knew them already-and the human working there didn’t seem to care. Katie sent out her azumarill and shinx, Justin sent out Spark, and after Damian finished signing, he sent out Todd, Inferno, and Scytheclaw.
“Uh…” Katie began, staring after the scizor as he walked through the gate after the other pokémon had excitedly ran through it, but instead of finishing her sentence, she just shook her head and sighed, muttering, “Let’s go.”
Snowcrystal turned to watch the humans leave, when the voice of the book reading human made her jump. “Hey, puppy,” she muttered, waving a rolled up piece of paper at her, “either get in or leave.”
Nervously, Snowcrystal followed the others, seething. I am not a puppy!
As she walked through the gate, she noticed a few pokémon with blue collars patrolling the edges of the gate and watching the playing pokémon carefully. She thought they must be there to make sure the other pokémon behaved. She glanced at one, a tall mienshao who was watching near the gate, and he returned her glance before nodding toward the open field her friends were heading. She hurried to follow them.
As Scytheclaw veered off from the others toward one of the areas with trees, Snowcrystal caught up with the rest of the group. “So what are we supposed to do here?” she asked. “Do we…just do what we want?” She looked at the other pokémon cluelessly.
“Look at this!” Spark cried in delight. “Food!” He bolted over toward a group of small stands that held containers full of pokémon food. He wasted no time in shoving his head into one of them and gulping down as many of the brown pellets as he could.
“Uh…that’s nice,” Snowcrystal replied. She had never completely gotten used to human food. She turned to look around, wondering what area to explore first.
“I’m going to go over toward those trees,” Nightshade told the others, a hint of sadness in his voice. When he was sure they had heard him, he turned and limped off toward the nearest tree group.
“Hey, Spark! Look at this!” Alex cried in excitement, pointing toward a strange construction that had several large tires hanging from ropes. A group of pichu were swinging back and forth on the nearest one, squealing excitedly. Without waiting for an answer, Alex bounded over toward the tires. Katie’s azumarill and shinx glanced at each other and followed.
Inferno looked around at the remaining pokémon. “I think we can trust you guys to do what you’re told. Go wherever you want. Just don’t fight, be kind and respectful, don’t leave the Poké Park, and you’ll be fine.” He and Todd then gave excited yells and bounded off toward one of the play structures.
“Well…” Wildflame muttered in annoyed voice. “So much for showing us around.”
“Well, that means we get to explore the place,” Redclaw replied.
“Great,” Wildflame grumbled unenthusiastically.
Spark walked over to them, licking food crumbs from his mouth. “Do you think I’d get in trouble if I zapped the pokémon in the pool?” he asked mischievously.
” Redclaw gave him a cold stare. “Don’t try it.”
“I was only joking!”
“Well,” Wildflame began. “I’m going to go over there.” She angled her head toward a group of boulders. “I’ll see the rest of you later.”
“All right!” Spark called back, before turning and running toward where Alex was swinging on one of the tires, nearly knocking over a baby squirtle in the process.
Snowcrystal looked at Redclaw. The arcanine sighed. “If it’s all right with you, I want to take a short nap first,” he said tiredly. “I’ll come and find you when I wake up if you want.”
“All right,” Snowcrystal replied. “I’ll be fine by myself.”
She left Redclaw as the arcanine went to find a place to sleep and headed toward the tree covered side of the park. Up close, she realized that there weren’t as many trees as she had first thought, just several big ones for pokémon to climb on. It seemed a bit more inviting than a real forest. She couldn’t see any snow covered place in the park, and the only ice type she saw was a glaceon who seemed to be in a race that involved leaping across boulders with a couple of other eevee evolutions. She also noticed, for the first time, that there were a few trainers here, playing and interacting with their pokémon and any random pokémon who happened to pass their way wanting human attention.
She headed toward a place near the trees which seemed to have the biggest collection of boulders, for that reminded her most of her home. As she walked, she heard a human shout toward her.
“Hey, look at that growlithe!”
She froze, and then slowly glanced down at her fur, but it still looked convincingly orange. She turned around to see two young male trainers. One of them was pointing at her.
“It’s really small, isn’t it?” the other trainer asked. Snowcrystal relaxed a bit.
“Yeah…” the first one said, narrowing his eyes at her, not in a hostile way, but merely a curious one. “Wonder why her trainer didn’t get a quality one bred…”
She started to walk away from them, and barely heard another trainer beginning to argue with the two that it didn’t matter where a trainer got their pokémon from. As their voices faded away, she wondered if this was what Nightshade had talked about, about many of the humans in Stonedust City wanting pokémon from breeders. It wasn’t of much concern to her, but it still struck her as a bit strange.
She still hadn’t reached the clump of rocks when another trainers’ conversation reached her ears, but this time it wasn’t about her.
“…as usual there are eevees everywhere,” one of them was saying. Snowcrystal stopped to listen, not sure why, but thinking of Spark as the humans continued talking.
“Pretty much every trainer has them now,” the trainer’s friend agreed.
“And they’re breeding so many of them that there’s still some on the streets. Of course, most of them get picked up by trainers, but it’s still a nuisance. Some of the breeding centers simply produce too many.”
Humans breed pokémon without knowing if they’ll be wanted?
Snowcrystal thought, bemused. Of course, she didn’t know much about how humans bred pokémon at all. Damian had told her that some trainers raised their pokémon’s offspring and found new trainers for them, but this sounded like something different. Something more like whatever Nightshade had hinted at when she’d talked to him. Spark had told her a little while ago that he had come from a breeding center, and that Justin picked him out himself. He had told her that the center he’d come from had been nice and eevee who weren’t picked out were sent to pleasant pokémon ranches, and she wondered if there were other centers that weren’t so nice. If anything, she thought, those two humans should be focusing on trying to stop the humans who were abandoning eevee in the streets. They were humans themselves, so why didn’t they do something?
Quickly losing interest in the trainers’ conversation, she headed on toward the rocks. Upon reaching them, she noticed that the area was a lot bigger than she’d thought it was. There were several groups of pokémon here. She spotted a graveler talking to a gloom by one rock close to her, and a few marill hopping about on another. And beyond them…was Scytheclaw.
Snowcrystal stopped in her tracks. She hadn’t expected to find the scizor here, and she knew he probably wouldn’t want to see her around. After a moment’s hesitation, she decided to stay, but to keep her distance from him.
Snowcrystal spent the next few minutes climbing about on the rocks. Some of the pokémon stopped what they were doing to watch, some congratulating her and telling her they’d never seen a growlithe jump like she did. She enjoyed the attention; it was nice to not have to hide all the time, but soon she grew tired of it, and she climbed down and began idly walking among the rest of the boulders, watching the other pokémon.
As she wandered, she noticed Scytheclaw again, standing beside a boulder not far from where she was. She was about to head in the opposite direction, when she noticed he was looking at another trainer. Standing beside the trainer was another scizor. This scizor was a female, and unlike Scytheclaw, she looked healthy and well groomed. Scytheclaw was looking at her warily, and when her trainer walked away toward where a lucario, presumably one of his other pokémon, was sitting, Scytheclaw approached her.
Now that Snowcrystal could see Scytheclaw compared to another scizor, the only other scizor she’d ever seen, she noticed that he looked a bit different. He was a somewhat darker red than the other scizor, who certainly didn’t have that odd sharp looking edge on the insides of her pincers. She had known that Scytheclaw was different in that respect; he would often spend hours a day making the inside edges of his pincers as sharp as he could.
(Continued in next post...)